Hurricanes, record rain drench Chatham County

BY JOHN HUNTER, News + Record Staff
Posted 1/3/19

Chatham County was hit hard by not one, but two major storms during the 2018 hurricane season.

In mid-September, Hurricane Florence made its way into the Carolinas.

Heavy rain from Hurricane …

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Hurricanes, record rain drench Chatham County

Posted

Chatham County was hit hard by not one, but two major storms during the 2018 hurricane season.

In mid-September, Hurricane Florence made its way into the Carolinas.

Heavy rain from Hurricane Florence’s outer bands caused water levels to rise rapidly in rivers and streams across Chatham County.

Many areas were flooded, and some residents had to abandon their homes due to encroaching water. The overflow from Love’s Creek in Siler City caused a strong current to move through the area of the development’s playground. Several of the homes near the mobile home park’s playground were inundated with water rising from the creek.

The blitz of heavy rain from Hurricane Florence’s outer bands caused Robeson Creek in Pittsboro to swell and rise, creating flooding by the creek side. The water swell led to culverts under the roadway being pushed by the current, which in turn washed away a portion of the roadway on Pittsboro Elementary School Road. Several other driveways along the path of the creek were damaged.

The rising creek water made its way into some homes that bordered Robeson Creek. Several homes were damaged by the flooding.

Just a few weeks later, Chatham County was hit by a second powerful storm when, in early October, Hurricane Michael, downgraded to a tropical storm when it reached Chatham County, brought more heavy rainfall and powerful winds that downed trees and left many in Chatham County without power.

Estimated wind gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour from the second storm pummeled trees and structures.

Chatham County Emergency Management received approximately 20 calls regarding structures damaged structures in the county as a result of the storm. Multiple trees were reported to have fallen, many falling onto or became entangled in power lines, which resulted in thousands of power outages in Chatham County.

At the peak of the storm, Duke Energy reported that about 13,000 customers in Chatham County were without power. Central Electric reported that 4,040 of its members were without power.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), approximately 90 roads in Randolph and Chatham counties were impassible due to downed trees and power lines.

Though the storms have long dissipated, Chatham County continues to deal with some of the residual damage.

Chatham County was included in Governor Roy Cooper’s request for FEMA Public Assistance (PA) made in December. The request was made for eligible work performed by eligible entities located in Chatham County, which may include state and local governments, and certain private nonprofits, according to Chatham County Director of Emergency Management Steve Newton.

Chatham County was included in the request for federal Public Assistance because of debris removal and road/bridge work that was reported by the North Carolina Department of Transportation and utility work reported by Randolph Electrical Membership Corporation. The Chatham County government did not report any eligible work as part of the Preliminary Damage Assessment that led to the inclusion of Chatham in the governor’s request for federal assistance.

A total of $260,555 in eligible emergency work and permanent repairs were reported as part of the PDA for eligible entities in Chatham County, Newton said

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